Top 10 Day Trips from Samara Costa Rica

Samara Costa Rica is beautiful, less touristy town in the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica. While there are so many great things to do in Samara with the family, you may be looking to explore a little more by taking a few Day Trips from Samara Costa Rica!

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We absolutely loved staying in Samara, and loved the chance to get away for a unique adventure as well. From the beautiful Belen Waterfall to to visiting national parks, Samara is a great location to see many things.

Here are a few fun day trips that the whole family will enjoy. And the best part is that they are all under 3 hours away (most are between 1 hour and 2 hour 50 minutes).

Day Trips from Samara pin 1

Flying into Liberia? Grab a private shuttle to Samara!


When to Start your Day Trips from Samara

The simple answer to this is: Start them as early in the day as possible! As many of these take 1-3 hours to get to, you’ll want an early start. Then, you’ll have plenty of time to explore your destination before heading back to your hotel in Samara.

And remember, you do not want to be driving in the dark from town to town in Costa Rica. Roads are dark, windy, and signage is often lacking. So get an early start, and leave enough time to get back to your hotel before 6.

>>> Check out the awesome, affordable rental we stayed at in Samara! <<<

National Parks that make Great Day Trips from Samara

One of the fun Day Trips from Samara is to head to a National Park. These protected lands will give you plenty of hiking, sightseeing, and wildlife.

1. Diria National Park

How Far is Diria National Park from Samara? About 1-1/2 hours

Diria National Park is different from other national parks in Costa Rica. Still green and lush, this national park is at a high elevation around 6,000 feet.

Dedications to preserving and expanding the land has proved successful in also expanding the number of animals that take up residence here (over 134 species of birds!)

Diria National Park has 3 main trails (though All Trails will only say there is 1). The first trail is shorter and more likely to be done with kids. The second trail longer and appropriate for older kids.

The third trail will take you to Brazil Waterfalls and swim holes. It’s beautiful during rainy season, but dried up otherwise. This trail is a bit rougher terrain and isn’t ideal for kids.

Learn more about the trails, fauna and flora of Diria National Park.

Tenorio Rio Celest Day Trips from Samara

Photo from Unsplash, Rio Celeste Waterfall

2. Tenorio Volcano National Park

How Far is Tenorio from Samara? About 2-1/2 to 3 hours

This may be a farther drive, but Tenorio is quickly becoming one of the more popular national parks in Costa Rica, making it one of the gorgeous days trip from Samara.

The drive is long, though, so honestly I would suggest stopping here on the way from La Fortuna to Liberia.

But, if you decide to make the trek from Samara, here’s what you can expect.

Rio Celeste Waterfall– if you do any research into national parks in Costa Rica, you’ll likely come across this gorgeous waterfall. Not only is the cascade beautiful, but it falls into the turquoise waters of the blue lagoon, or Laguna Azul.

The trails through Tenorio Volcano NP will take you to the waterfall and to the magical place where water turns turquoise.

Suggested Tour (with a pickup from Samara) : Tubing, Rainforest, Wildlife, Volcano, Waterfalls at Tenorio

3. Palo Verde

How far is Palo Verde from Samara? Around 2 hr 45 min

Visit Isla Pajaros (or, “bird island”), where you can witness the nesting land for 8 species of birds. The park will also give ample opportunities to see crocodiles, iguanas, and different species of monkeys.

The Best way to see Palo Verde is on a boat tour down the Tempisque River (linked tour also includes lunch!).

4. Barra Honda

How far is Barra Honda from Samara? About 1 hour 10 min

Barra Honda National Park makes a great day trip from Samara.

First, it’s not terribly far. Always a plus.

Second, this gorgeous park has everything you would imagine a Costa Rica national park to have…but it also has caverns!

The caves in Barra Honda are the only of its kind in a national park in Costa Rica. Nineteen caves have been explored, though only one is open to the public.

So whether you are looking for beauty, trails, or caves, Barra Honda has it.

Things to do in Samara Belen waterfall
Belen waterfall after a heavy rainfall

5. Belen Waterfall – 20-30 min

Heading to Belen Waterfall isn’t so much of a day trip as it is a great morning out, but I thought I’d include it anyway because it’s pretty cool.

Just a short drive away from Samara, Belen waterfall is a local hangout. If the water is timid, you can spend a while in the swim hole.

However, we went after a huge downpour the night before, so the falls were pretty heavy and too dangerous to jump in (especially with kids). Use good judgement!

6. La Roca Waterfall – 20 min

La Roca Waterfall is slightly closer than Belen but just as beautiful. You can find it by driving up the main highway from Samara (highway 150) and watching for La Roca Bar (or, “Bar La Roka”). It’s just a short walk from the restaurant down the path until you arrive at La Roca waterfall near Samara.

You can use your judgement to get in and swim and enjoy a gorgeous day in the jungle at the waterfall.

7. Reserva Natural Monte Alto

Samara to Reserva Natural Monte Alto – about 1 hour

At only an hour away, this makes one of the easy day trips from Samara.

The Reserva Natual Monte Alto began in 1994 when people saw how dried up the Rio Nosara (Nosara River) had gotten due to deforestation. This beautiful area is now lush and home to various wild cats and plants.

The main attraction for many is the Orchid Trail. This makes a great trail for families as it is only 500 meters long. Everyone will love finding many of the 80 species of orchids along the trail.

There are other trails as well, including one to a waterfall.

8. Walk in the Clouds at Monteverde

Samara to Monteverde is about 2 hours and 50 minutes

Monteverde is known for its famous cloud forest. While many people stay here, you can make a day trip from Samara to visit the biological reserve.

The cloud forest is home to over 400 species of birds and myriad wildlife species. When you visit, you can take a canopy tour, go hiking, or walk through the hanging bridges.

9. Kayaking at Chora Island

Instead of driving on this day trip from Samara, you’ll kayak! Paddle your way over to Chora Island, just a short distance of the shores of Playa Samara. A guide will take you out to the island, and then you’ll switch the kayak for a snorkel.

Enjoy turtles, crabs, puffer fish, and all kinds of ocean life in this great snorkel area. This is a great family experience and kids from ages 5 and up can participate.

Book the Chora Island Tour

10. Kayaking on Río Ora

If you love kayaking like we do, then you’ll love getting to paddle in the mangroves of Costa Rica.

On the Ora River, you’ll be among large birds like herons and egrets, monkeys, iguanas, and more great Costa Rican wildlife.

This tour is perfect for families as anyone ages 4+ can participate.

Book The Ora River Mangrove Kayak Tour

Top Day Trips From Samara

Samara is an incredible town to relax or play. But if you’re wanting to explore Costa Rica a bit more, then these make some great Day Trips from Samara that you can do with the whole family!

Whether it’s national parks, lesser-known reserves, or local hangouts, you don’t have to travel too far to find many gems that Costa Rica offers!

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